Obama Mixes Up Concentration Camp Names, Right Wing Goes Ballistic


The conservative blogs spent most of the day getting overly excited by the minor gaffe committed by Barack Obama in the video above. While this is expected from the right wing bloggers, I would expect the Republican National Committee to show a little more restraint–if for no other reason than to avoid the embarrassments they must have felt by this afternoon.

Obama stated that an uncle was present at the liberation of Auschwitz in a comment which was not part of his prepared text. Obviously this was an error unless his uncle was part of the Soviet army which actually liberated Auschwitz. The Republican National Committee responded with a statement that, “Obama’s frequent exaggerations and outright distortions raise questions about his judgment and his readiness to lead as commander in chief.”

The RNC could have avoided some humiliation if they had waited for the explanation from Obama’s campaign as reported by Ben Smith:

In fact, campaign spokesman Bill Burton says, his great uncle was a member of the 89th Infantry Division that liberated the Ohrduf camp, part of Buchenwald and, according to the Holocaust Museum, the first concentration camp liberated by U.S. troops.

The soldier in question, Burton said, is Obama’s grandmother’s brother, who’s still alive.

UPDATE: “Senator Obama’s family is proud of the service of his grandfather and uncles in World War II – especially the fact that his great uncle was a part of liberating one of the concentration camps at Buchenwald. Yesterday he mistakenly referred to Auschwitz instead of Buchenwald in telling of his personal experience of a soldier in his family who served heroically,” Burton says.

Obama made a mistake in saying Auschwitz instead of Buchenwald. Auschwitz is probably the best known concentration camp and I can certainly understand why it might come to someone’s mind instead of Buchenwald. If he had the time to think about it and go back and edit he would probably have realized that this did not make sense geographically as it was the Russians, not Americans, who were in Poland at the time.

The reality is that people speaking without a prepared speech are going to make mistakes. In the You Tube era we are going to see lots of these mistakes from many politician from every party. Steve M. noted that Ronald Reagan made a comparable misstatement about himself (not even a family member) when he incorrectly “claimed he had photographed the Nazi death camps even though he was never overseas during the war.” I have much more trust in someone running for president who briefly mixed up the names of concentration camps than candidates such as John McCain and Hillary Clinton who have both repeatedly confused the 9/11 terrorist attack with justification for going to war against Iraq.

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